5 Best VPNs For Australia: Stay Safe When Traveling in Australia

article by Nicky Hoseck
January 12, 2020
Australia may have a reputation as a young, democratic country, but increasing cyber threats are endangering individuals' rights to free access to digital content. The Australian government is anxious to crack down on cyber threats, but in doing so, may impinge on what content residents and visitors to the country can access.
Surprisingly, Australia has already gone down the censorship road on several occasions, attempting to allow only a “clean feed” that had been “pre-scrubbed of offensive content” to be available to homes and schools nationwide. This move may have failed, as it didn’t stop the government from ordering ISPs to block suspicious sites, or those that impinge on copyright, which, incidentally, included a free subtitles site.

For those keen to retain the ability to access whatever content they like, a VPN for Australia is becoming increasingly essential. Not just any VPN will do, however, especially not with the government peering over your shoulder.

Top VPNs for Australia

#1 ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN LogoHigh speeds and an impressive, international server network make ExpressVPN one of the most popular cybersecurity tools around and the fastest VPN in Australia. Not only does it offer cutting-edge encryption and state-of-the-art security protocols, but its commitment to user privacy puts it far ahead of the competition.

ExpressVPN has a strict, no-logging policy which it complements with its zero-knowledge architecture. With each server running its own private DNS, ExpressVPN users can be confident that no one is logging or tracking their activity and that no third parties have access to that sensitive data. ExpressVPN‘s approach to no-logging is so effective, even if approached by law enforcement agents, it would have no data to hand over, ensuring that your secrets are always in safe hands.

While not the cheapest VPN on the market, ExpressVPN offers excellent value for money, especially for those willing to commit to a long-term subscription of a year or more. ExpressVPN may not feature the additional bells and whistles of some other VPNs, like adblockers and multiple server protection, but it does the basics of what a VPN should do impeccably.

With one of the best customer support services in the VPN industry, you can rely on ExpressVPN to shoot your troubles far away, even when you’re far away. Based in the British Virgin Islands, where no data retention laws threaten user privacy, ExpressVPN is probably the best VPN for torrenting in Australia, given its track record of circumventing the most stringent geo-restrictions. After all, if it can work in the oppressive cyber environment of China, it can work anywhere… and it does.

Find out more about why ExpressVPN is number one by checking our full review here.

#2 CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPNThis exceptionally user-friendly VPN is one of the best VPNs in Australia, thanks to its consistently high speeds and extensive server network. CyberGhost has over 5,900 servers in total, and 76 in Australia alone. It’s also generous in terms of simultaneous connections, giving users the ability to connect and protect seven different devices at any one time.

With preset configurations for popular streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu, CyberGhost has made accessing geographically restricted content even easier than it is with ExpressVPN. It’s also a great VPN for torrenting in Australia.

While CyberGhost VPN has had some issues with logging in the past, it’s now one of the most transparent and trustworthy VPNs for Australia. A complete overhaul of its logging policy (to a completely zero-log policy) alongside its NoSpy server technology has catapulted CyberGhost to heady security heights while its friendly ghosts are on-hand to guide the most technologically-challenged through the fraught digital world.

Affordable and accessible, CyberGhost VPN is a superior Netflix VPN in Australia, using AES 256-bit encryption, while blocking unwanted ads and preventing sites from tracking your online behavior. It’s not always as speedy as ExpressVPN but, in almost every other respect, CyberGhost is a difficult VPN to beat, and you can discover exactly why by checking out our full review.

#3 Surfshark VPN

Surfshark VPNA newcomer to the VPN industry, Surfshark VPN has surprised cybersecurity experts worldwide by producing high-speed connections from a comparatively tiny network of servers. With just over 800 servers in 50 different countries, Surfshark should, theoretically, battle to provide consistent connections, high speeds, and access to geographically content. Instead, it has proved steadily capable of all three.

Surfshark VPN is strange, being insofar as it allows for unlimited simultaneous connections, so gadget freaks in Australia can go crazy with this one! Unfortunately, Surfshark doesn’t have a faster VPN in Australia, even though it produces top-tier results in other countries. Nevertheless, it’s certainly fast enough to stream and even torrent, if you can figure out which servers support P2P traffic, that is.

In addition to basic VPN protection, Surfshark has a few tricks up its sleeve, including its MultiHop feature which sends user traffic via two or more secure servers, giving an even greater level of protection. Surfshark’s CleanWeb and Whitelister features are also handy, with the former blocking ads and tracking functions, and the latter allowing the user to instruct safe traffic to bypass the encrypted VPN tunnel.

With some seriously competitive prices and a strict no-logging policy, Surfshark offers excellent value for money, even if it won’t produce the lightning-fast speeds of our top two VPNs for Australia.

If you’re tempted by the price but uncertain about Surfshark’s staying power, why not read our full review here and then make up your mind?

#4 ZenMate VPN

 zenmate 210x100There are pros and cons to any VPN, and ZenMate has its own fair share. On the plus side, it has an excellent no-logging policy and dedicated streaming profiles, which make accessing sites like BBC iPlayer or Amazon Prime a piece of cake. It also offers cross-platform compatibility like most other leading VPNs. On the downside, ZenMate’s mobile apps are still using the rather outdated 128-bit encryption code rather than the industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption which you get with its desktop software.

ZenMate has just 10 servers in Australia but that’s more than sufficient to support high-speed torrenting on its P2P-optimized servers. While it doesn’t go as far as either Surfshark or CyberGhost VPN in terms of simultaneous connections, for the average user, five devices should be enough.

While ZenMate promotes its German headquarters as a positive because of its strict data retention laws, others feel that VPNs situated outside the Five and 14 Eyes intelligence alliances offer a higher standard of user privacy. Competitive prices work in its favor, however, as does its impressive customer support.

New users can even try it out for free for seven days, or opt for the free version, although its limitations may make it unusable for some. For instance, Australians living overseas won’t be able to stream Australian content on ZenMate’s free plan as they can only access four countries: Germany, Hong Kong, Romania, and the US, so they won’t have access to a fake Australian IP address.

ZenMate’s premium plans, however, are competitively priced, and will give you access to ZenMate servers worldwide, including those in Australia. It’s certainly got some attractive features and deserves its number four spot when it comes to providing reliable cybersecurity protection in Australia.

Find out more about its features here.

#5 ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN 210x100 bgLike ZenMate, ProtonVPN has both free and paid packages available, but, just as with ZenMate, free users are limited to just three servers and none of which are situated in Australia. To use ProtonVPN as a VPN for torrenting in Australia, users will need to invest in either the basic, plus, or visionary plan.

While the basic and plus plans are both competitively priced, the visionary plan is quite expensive, but does include everything from anonymous P2P browsing to access to Tor servers and secure email. The email side of things originates from ProtonVPN’s beginnings as a secure email provider, and gives users the unusual benefit of encrypted emails as well as encrypted online traffic.

ProtonVPN is compatible with all major operating systems and has dedicated software for both Windows and Android. Based in Switzerland, ProtonVPN enjoys as much freedom from data retention legislation as both ExpressVPN and Surfshark VPN do in their cozy headquarters in the British Virgin Islands.

ProtonVPN also has a strict no-logging policy in place. Although it will restore a timestamp of your last online session, it’s difficult to see how that could compromise your online security, or make your private browsing sessions vulnerable to third-party access.

With DNS leak protection and a built-in kill switch, there’s no doubt that ProtonVPN offers a high level of security to its users. It also provides consistently high speeds, even in more remote areas, and despite having a comparatively small server network, the precise size of which isn’t publicized.

While not the most user-friendly, ProtonVPN is fast and effective while offering good value for money, so is well worth a try if you’re heading to Australia in the near future. Check out all its capabilities here.

Australia’s Strict Stance on Cybersecurity

While the internet may have given us more freedom than we ever imagined, it may not stay that way, especially if the Australian government has its way. Eager to upgrade its cybersecurity program in response to the latest climate of widespread cyberthreats and fears, the Australian government has been pushing through new legislation to clamp down on specific cybersecurity threats. Unfortunately, these moves could undermine individual internet freedom, making a VPN for Australia increasingly vital.

Currently, a VPN is one of the few pieces of technology available that can help combat Australia’s increasingly prolific internet censorship. With Australian ISPs instructed to store all user metadata for as long as two years, the only way to prevent third parties from prying into where your emails came from and went to is by hiding your activity and IP address behind an encrypted cloak of invisibility.

Australia has ignited further concerns with its Criminal Code Amendment (Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material) Act 2019 and its new Assistance and Access Bill. While the former targets social media sites and their responsibility to remove “abhorrently violent material”, the latter focuses on giving government representatives the ability and right to access encrypted data.

If the Australian government has its way, encrypted messaging services like WhatsApp and iMessage could be forced to build a backdoor into their software, giving law enforcement agencies access to encrypted digital communications. Fortunately, as yet, there’s been no mention of the government targeting VPNs so citizens and visitors to Australia can, for the time being at least, enjoy some element of privacy by using one of the best VPNs in Australia.

Full Stream Ahead in Australia

One of the benefits of using a good VPN for torrenting in Australia is that, even if you’re in another country, you can continue to enjoy digital content and streaming sites that are geographically restricted to Australian IP addresses only. This means you can continue watching your favorite Netflix shows or ease the waves of homesickness with a true Aussie drama on Stan.

Netflix retains its top spot as the most popular streaming site in Australia, just as it does in most other countries in the world, and similarly, Amazon Prime is snapping at its heels in second place. In third place, however, is a streaming site that those not living in Australia will probably have never heard of. Stan is an Aussie streaming site that prides itself on producing high-quality, homegrown content.

Foxtel Now is another Australian streaming site that gives users access to over 50 live channels and a host of video-on-demand titles to boot, whereas Hayu’s cost-effective subscription gives viewers access to the best of America’s reality TV.

Conclusion

With online crime reaching epidemic proportions in Australia, it’s little wonder the government has responded so aggressively. Nevertheless, the new legislation looks set to restrict freedom of access and impinge on user privacy- moves that will make the best VPN in Australia a necessity rather than a luxury.

Whether you want to communicate privately, send emails and messages without the government’s interference, or you’re an Australian overseas looking for a little homegrown entertainment, ExpressVPN is one of the fastest, safest, and most versatile VPNs you could opt for. Not only will it keep you safe Down Under, but it will also give you access to any content you like, regardless of geographical restrictions.

Australia isn’t the only country looking to clampdown on internet freedoms, and getting a reliable VPN is one of the few ways you, dear reader, have to protect yourself against such restrictions. This is even more relevant for Australians who don’t have a constitutional right to privacy, and will, therefore, have to fight even harder to protect their right to online privacy.

1 comment
steve92 says:

With the increasing hacks and breaches happening everywhere, I decided that apart from Avast antivirus, I should start using a VPN. Since I don’t have much knowledge about it, I wanted something, which was easy to use and cheap (although still reliable). A couple of my friends use NordVPN and CyberGhost, but since I wanted something cheaper, I decided to try out Surfshark. So far, what I’ve experienced the internet speeds are okay, and the customer support is always helpful.